One of the better movies I missed at this year's Cannes Film Festival turned out to be Matthew Warchus' crowd pleaser “Pride.” The British film made its debut in Director's Fortnight and, unfortunately, as less hectic as Cannes is compared to its prestige festival cousins it rarely allows you to catch up with everything on the schedule. From a distance the film seemed like “The Full Monty,” “Waking Ned Devine” or “Calendar Girls” with a slight Working Title spin. Basically, a movie I could catch down the road. Plus, it was screening at the end of the festival when there were a number of other priorities. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Needless to say, I'm kicking myself for not seeing it at Cannes because it's a good one.
Set in 1984, “Pride” is the true story of a group of gay men and women who decide to take a break from waging their own campaign for equal rights to raise money for striking mineworkers in Wales. At the time Margaret Thatcher was using harsh tactics to try and weaken Britain's Unions (policies her American counterpart couldn't dream of using in the U.S.). The movie focuses on the London chapter of what became a nationwide “gay” cause known as Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners and many of the characters are based on people still living today. What's most remarkable about “Pride” though is that it took 30 years for this amazing story to make it to the big or small screen. Especially since it has a real life ending which should make anyone a little misty. (really).
“Pride” rides on a witty script from Stephen Beresford and makes some smart and unexpected choices under the direction of Tony Award winner Warchus. The movie also had a large and impressive ensemble cast including Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, George MacKay (“How I Live Now”), Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott (Moriarty from “Sherlock”) and up and comer Ben Schnetzer, among others. It also features a fantastic turn by Jessica Gunning (“Law & Order: UK”) who almost steals the movie which is pretty hard to do when you're alongside actors like Staunton, Nighy, West and Considine.
What's most surprising about “Pride” is how its story is a text book example of how liberal and progressive coalitions have formed over the decades. This isn't necessarily a movie about gay acceptance (although that's a major part of it), it's a movie about people helping their fellow man no matter who they are and where they are from “because it's the right thing to do.” To be frank, as much of a crowd pleaser as it is it's probably not going to play well to anyone who is a big fan of Fox News.
Happily, you won't have to wait long to see it. CBS Films is distributing “Pride” in limited release beginning on Sept. 19. The studio has exclusively provided HitFix with the American poster for the movie which you can find embedded in this post. You can also watch the American trailer (which I'm happy to say leaves in Sylvester's “Mighty Real” from the UK version because we can never have enough Sylvester) at the top of this post.
“Pride” opens in limited release on Sept. 19.